Is climate impact data on packaging the next big thing?

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Is climate impact data on packaging the next big thing?


Alongside your best before date and calorie info, is it about time you started considering the carbon emission impact of each product you buy? Oatly think so and will be rolling this out this info on pack soon.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Tue 9 Apr 2019

In the last week, we've had The Guardian announce it will include CO2 emissions in its weather reports and now dairy free oat milk brand Oatly, has announced that it will share climate impact data on all of its packaging. So you've got carlorie info for you, climate impact for the planet.

Oatly will calculate the emissions used from oat field to store and break it down per item so you can see how much energy or CO2 you're saving by choosing an oat milk over an equivalent.

In a world, where we know we need to consumer less and have less impact with the things we use everyday, smart brands are making it easier for us to see where we can make savings - and feel good in small actions - rather than feeling confused over endless graphs, doom and gloom data and competing accreditations.

Would you like to see carbon emission data on packaging

Image Do you want to see carbon emission data on the packaging of your favourite products?

Carina Tollmar, Sustainability Director at Oatly said, “Scientists and most reasonable people on Earth agree: to avoid catastrophe we must keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C. But even though the food system accounts for 20-25% of the world’s total climate footprint, it’s currently really hard for consumers to understand the climate impact of the food and drink they choose to purchase. 

It’s now time to take urgent action. That is why we are giving consumers detailed information about the climate impact of our products, allowing Oatly fans to make more informed choices when it comes to their food and drink purchases.”

Oatly's calculations show that if by you swap one litre of British Whole cow’s milk for one litre of Barista Edition Oat Drink, you will save 1.16kg of CO2e*. 

That is as much greenhouse gas equivalent (CO2e) as produced by driving 10km in an average petrol car (for example, a Ford Fiesta, the UK’s most popular car).

The CO2e figures can be found on the back of Oatly packaging and in some cases, in a small bubble on the front of the oat drinks. The company will be rolling this out over the next few months and will also share on their site.

Should every food and drink product have the details of their planetary impact on them, alongside other production details like source and date? Would that make it easier to shop or would it make it harder to choose? 

If you're seeing this feature on social media, tell us what you think in the comments.

How can we change our eating habits to reduce CO2 emissions?

We are continually told how eating differently can help the planet and can help us all to reduce the CO2 emissions used in farming and manufacturing, whether that's eating more plants, less meat, more locally, more organically. The truth is often all of those are correct, but not everyone can or will do all of them. So solutions lie in the grey area, in the multitude, in choosing a variety of different actions depending on who and where you are - and just trying to reduce, in whatever way you can.